Getting a flu shot can protect pregnant women from flu.
- Even if you are generally healthy, changes in your immune, heart and lung functions during pregnancy will make you more likely to get seriously ill from flu.
- Studies show that getting a flu shot while you are pregnant can protect you from flu and protect your baby from flu for several months after birth.
- Flu shots are a safe way to protect the mother and her developing baby from serious illness and complications from flu.
- Millions of pregnant women have safely received flu shots for many years.
- The flu shot has not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies.
- Pregnant women can get a flu shot at any time, during any trimester, while pregnant. Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from flu.
- Pregnant women are at high risk of serious illness and hospitalization with flu. If you get sick with the flu, call your doctor right away. CDC recommends that pregnant women with flu be treated with flu antiviral drugs.
- Your doctor can prescribe flu antiviral medicines to treat flu illness.
- Antiviral medicines can make flu illness milder, decrease the time you are sick and decrease the risk of problems caused by flu illness.
- It’s best to get vaccinated before the season begins. Though flu seasons vary from year-to-year, getting vaccinated by the end of October makes it more likely that you will be protected before flu activity begins to increase.
When you get a flu shot, your body starts to make antibodies that help protect you against flu.
- Antibodies can be passed on to your developing baby. These antibodies will help protect the baby for several months after he or she is born. This is important because babies younger than 6 months of age are too young to get a flu vaccine.
- If you breastfeed your baby, you may pass antibodies to your baby through your breastmilk.
- It takes about two weeks after flu vaccination for your body to develop antibodies that protect against flu virus infection. Therefore, it is best to get vaccinated early in flu season—by the end of October, if possible.
- If you have your baby before getting a flu shot, you still need to get vaccinated (if it is still flu season). Getting vaccinated reduces your risk of getting sick and possibly passing flu to your baby.
- Another way to protect your baby is to have all their caregivers and close contacts get vaccinated against the flu. Parents, siblings, grandparents and babysitters should each get a flu shot before seeing your baby.
One out of two pregnant women gets a seasonal flu shot.
- During the 2016-17 flu season, an estimated 54% of pregnant women in the U.S. protected themselves and their babies from flu by getting a flu shot before or during their pregnancy. This is a significant improvement since the years before the 2009 flu pandemic.